Since I am spending the day cleaning up my disaster of a house, I thought I'd share a little something that has saved my sanity. As a domestic goddess, I try & try & try to get my kids to keep their things in their rooms. If a much loved toy or book finds its way into our home's open spaces (living room, front room & kitchen) and I happen to pass it while doing things a domestic goddess does (like hide in the bathroom with a magazine for a moment of peace) then it is picked up and put in the basket.
Our particular basket was picked up at Target. I fell in love with it's round shape and knew it had to come home with me. It takes about a week to fill up with the children's goodies left laying on the floor (that the Mr. seriously needs to swiffer), the couch or other such places. On any random night, just before my kiddos head to bed, I yell out "Basket Time!" and they all know that means they need to go in the living room and sit on the couch. I proceed to take everything out of the basket & 4 piles on the floor (one for each child). Then I say, "Ready. Set. Go!" and they all rush to put their piles away - each thing in their proper place. They have 5 minutes. If anything is left after that time, I keep it indefinitely. No it's never come down to that but I figured we'd need to have some sort of rule like that to give them all an incentive to clean quickly. It works like a charm.
Oh, & another basket rule: once an item is placed in the basket, it cannot be taken out until we have Basket Time. The basket seriously keeps me sane. I was going crazy having to nag my sweet offspring to clean up all the time. Now I don't have to. Oh, & yes that is a cereal box in the basket. My kids like to turn them into computers, cell phones or other gadgets.
I'm off to clean. Have a lovely day :)